Farm to fork takes on a bigger scope when you consider that 26.4 percent of U.S. pork production is now exported. Growing and protecting that global market share means being prepared for a possible foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak, says Patrick Webb, a veterinarian and director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. “If a FAD occurs, we want to be ready as an industry as well as on every pig farm,” Webb said. “Whether it is foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever or another FAD, we want to get back to business as quickly as possible.” To facilitate that, USDA and the National Pork Board provided funding to Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health to develop the Secure Pork Supply Plan as part of USDA’s Secure Food Supply framework. Its goal is to provide a workable business continuity plan for farms. When implemented, the plan will facilitate the safe movement of pigs to harvest or to other farms if they show no evidence of a FAD infection in a disease control area.
Producers can find out more about the Secure Pork Supply plan and steps they can take now to dovetail with it when implemented at SecurePork.org. Webb also recommends that producers go through the Pork Checkoff’s FAD checklist.
“Review the checklist to ensure that your farm is ready,” Webb said. “While we hope that a FAD does not occur in the United States, it’s better to be prepared.” Cindy Cunningham, assistant vice president of communications for the Pork Checkoff, noted that the Checkoff conducted five table-top FMD drills in 2017 as part of its ongoing preparedness activities. Miniature farms, towns and other features help participants simulate what would happen in the event of FMD. “The drills give real-life experience to producers and attendees who would respond,” Cunningham said. “It’s eye-opening for participants to see how quickly the impact
of FMD would spread.”
The Pork Checkoff also continues its collaboration with the FMD cross-species team, which includes pork, beef, dairy and sheep groups.
“With all of these species impacted by FMD, we’ve developed a coordinated plan and response,” Cunningham said. “Our key message would be that FMD is not a public health issue and that meat and milk remain safe.”
For more information, go to SecurePork.org.